How to Do Fashion Week Sustainably

To mark the start of London Fashion Week, we’re sharing some tips for how to have a more eco-friendly, less wasteful fashion month. 

As London Fashion Week kicks off and our Instagram feeds fill with streetstyle shots of influencers wearing approximatley three or more outfits a day, driving from one end of the city to the other and back, as well as being offered single-use plastic bottles at every event and show, it can’t come as a surprise that fashion month is quite wasteful. However, we believe the shows can be done more sustainably and have laid out our tips for you below.

First, the fashion, oh the fashion. In the age of social media, streetwear has arguably become as important as the fashion show itself (if not more). And with one in ten throwing an outfit away after three photos wearing it on socials, this wastefulness has to be addressed – especially during fashion week, when trends are set. Most show goers are lent clothes for each show by the brand, prompting at least 2-3 changes a day if not more. Arguably the fact that these clothes are being lent and returned to the brand for sale or sampling is per se not as heavy on the environment. However, to the outside world, or better yet, to followers, it normalises the idea of needing to wear something new every day or for every new post. Take inspiration from Marina Testino, who wore the same exact red suit for two months straight to campaign for conscious consumerism under the hashtag #onedresstoimpress. If wearing the same outfit for fashion month sounds a bit too much, you could also challenge your self to re-wear at least one piece, for example a white cotton T-shirt, style it so that it works differently for each show.  Make sure you mention it on your socials to raise awareness, you never know, your followers might just applaude you for it.  

Carry a reusable water bottle with you. Plastic bottles are handed out left, right and centre during fashion week (apart from at the infamous Yeezy show of 2016, where models were passing out from the heat and guests started handing them water after no help came from the brand itself), but there is always the option of bringing a reusable bottle with you. You could pick a small one that fits in your bag (or can stay in the car) and find refill stations all over the four cities with the Refill app, so you never have to worry about using single-use plastic. Keep an eye out for Evian’s first refillable glass bottle in collaboration with Virgil Abloh, that will be exclusively available on MATCHESFASHION.COM very soon.

Refuse the straw when at events or bring your own glass, bamboo or steel one (we guarantee it will make for a good conversation starter). Speak up and politely tell the organisers that serving drinks without straws is now IN, and plastic pollution is OUT. 

Food is always an issue during fashion week, both because there is no time to stop and dine, and because salmon puffs might not be super appealing to you (or your dietary preferences). To stay healthy and plastic-free on the go, prep ahead and pack some nuts and dried fruits as a snack. You could even bring your Nutribullet blender with you from home to make a healthy smoothie with fresh zero-waste fruit in the morning – so you know at least one meal will be healthy and give you the much needed energy for the day.

For dinner see our favourite vegan restaurants in New York City as well as London – we promise they are very Instagram-friendly. 

Refuse the freebie. The goody bags might look super appealing (or not, depending on how many years you’ve been working in the fashion industry), but they are more often than not filled with stuff that you do not need. So if you don’t feel like you have a real need for any of the freebies then politely decline – in our experience no one will take offence if you explain you feel like some of the things will be happier in someone else’s home. Remind yourself that you’ve got enough and having to declutter again is not your idea of a relaxed post-fashion week time. 

Since you’re stopping by London and Milan, see our sustainable city guides for the best ethical hotspots to visit.